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Saudi Aramco: FCA head admits to talks over listing plans

From BBC - October 13, 2017

The head of the City regulator has admitted meeting oil giant Saudi Aramco over a potential 1.5 trillion listing on the London Stock Exchange.

Andrew Bailey, chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), said discussions with the world's biggest oil firm were held early this year.

The regulator has been criticised for proposing changes to listing rules to accommodate sovereign-owned companies.

MPs have warned about lax governance and political interference in the deal.

Mr Bailey said: "We can confirm that we held conversations with Saudi Aramco and their advisers in light of their interest in a possible UK listing in the early part of this year.

"We emphasised during those conversations that we were reviewing the listing regime."

Mr Bailey was writing in response to a letter from Nicky Morgan, chair of the Treasury Committee.

'Protections not weakened'

Saudi Aramco plans to list 5% of its shares in London or on another major stock exchange, but UK rules state that more than 25% of shares should be listed to stop a single shareholder having too much influence.

However, FCA proposals put forward in January could allow for exceptions.

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